Robert Hackenberg, Sr. of Chatham, NJ passed away August 24th at the Center for Hope Hospice and Palliative Care in Scotch Plains, NJ. He was 92.
Born October 30th, 1930, in Beavertown, PA. He was the son of Lee and Mabel Miller Hackenberg.
He is survived by his significant other of approximately 30 years, Elin Rose Krhoun of Chatham, NJ, his son Robert Jr. with his wife Sonya, his son, Steven Hackenberg and his daughter Molly Hackenberg Hoffman.
His Grandchildren: Dana Robertson and husband, Adam, Sarah Hackenberg Dickinson, and husband, Kenneth, Asher Hackenberg, and wife Angelina, Elizabeth and Alexandra Duke, Nicole Hoffman Battistella and husband Tony, Jessica Hoffman Harrison, and her husband Grant.
Great Grandchildren: Aiden and Cameran Dickinson, Callen and Olivia Forfa, Waylon and Collins Harrison, Everett Hackenberg and Daphne Robertson.
He was a Navy Veteran serving from 1948 to 1952. He spent time training in California and later flew as an Ariel Reconnaissance Photographer based out of Pensacola, Florida.
He was predeceased in death by his parents, and both his brother Barry Hackenberg, and sister Jeanette Herman.
He attended Susquehanna University class of 1956 under the GI Bill with a BS in Finance and received his MBA from Bucknell University. Bob enjoyed the theater. He played Ensign Frank Pulver in Mr. Roberts multiple times, first in the Navy, and later at the Sunbury Theatre and the Bucks County Theatre in New Hope Pennsylvania. He appeared in several plays at various theatres over the years and loved to entertain. One of his most memorable performances was at the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary where he kept over 220 inmates entranced for 15 minutes. Halfway through his show the director of the program sent him a message saying they added 15-20 minutes to your program so keep on talking. He said thanks for the advance notice, and kept on going, loving every additional minute of it.
As a youngster, Bob worked with his father during the summers picking up and delivering tomatoes for the Chef Boyardee company. Bob met his first wife Betty while working as a reporter at the Milton Newspaper. After their marriage, he was employed by the Young and Rubican Advertising Firm in New York City, where his first client was the Cheyenne TV series, starring Clint Walker. He later joined the WT Grant Company, the second largest department store chain below Sears and Robuck at the time. He worked his way to the Senior Buyer position in sporting goods, where he was known to have built the Huffy Bike Company, and Muskin Pool, an above ground pool company, by distributing both companies’ goods sold nationwide. Huffy, honored him with a white and pink girls Sting Ray bike, with the chain guard bearing the model’s name Molly Lou, after his daughter. Subsequently to his success in the Sporting Goods department, he became the senior Buyer in the Appliance department, where he had the same successes with Matsushita Electronics, which became what we know today in the US as Panasonic, and the vacuum manufacture Eureka, where a canaster model was titled the Princess Molly Lou, again named after his daughter. Bob spent many years traveling to and from Japan with WT Grant, spending several months at a time between Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, eventually picking up some of the Japanese language.
Bob spoke up to the upper management of WT Grant to slow the company’s growth in both Mexico and Canada stating they were on their way to bankruptcy, which ensued in the mid 70’s. After the company’s bankruptcy filing, he was jointly hired to work with a former officer of Sears to bring the company back to life. After the ultimate failure of WT Grant, Bob spent the balance of his business career employed by the banking industry to continue working to save companies in bankruptcy status, successfully bringing companies such as Samsonite Luggage and Emerson Electronics back to life.
Prior to full retirement, he opened a retail store in north Jersey designing and selling bathroom fixtures and accessories. Once retired, he assumed a position at Wardlaw Hartridge, a private school in Plainfield NJ as the 12th grade Economics teacher. After a few years, he left and spent the balance of his working career teaching English as a second language for Berlitz.
Bob was a member of the Summit Old Guard, and the Central Presbyterian Church.
He enjoyed golfing, crossword puzzles, traveling, and watching college football, as well as Jeopardy and the Wheel of Fortune.